If you want to get your site to the top of Google rankings, there is more to it than just adding relevant elements to your page.
On-page SEO is certainly useful, there is no denying that. However, there are a whole lot of off-page factors to consider as well. We've collated this ultimate guide to off-page SEO to walk you through the different steps you need to take.
Find out about what off-page SEO is, why to do it, backlinks for SEO, and finally how to get it done!
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to anything done outside of your website to improve your search engine rankings. While there are many things you can and should do on your website to improve the SEO, surprisingly many SEO factors aren't done on your site. These include backlinks, brand mentions, and guest posting.
These can make your site seem more reliable and trustworthy, thereby increasing your Google ranking.
Why Do Off-Page SEO?
If you're going to put the work into on-page SEO, you should do the off-page SEO to match it. Otherwise, you'll be putting all this effort in and still not getting to the top. Off-page SEO is the missing key for many people to get to the top of search results.
Part of off-page SEO is building backlinks. One study showed a clear correlation between backlinks and ranking on Google, as seen in the below graph. So, this shows that doing off-page SEO works!
Backlinks, however, aren't the only thing that matters for SEO. Check out the below graph detailing how much weight many of the on and off-page ranking factors carry. You'll notice that off-page factors total more than half of how your website is ranked.
Backlinks for SEO
Backlinks can greatly influence off-page SEO ranking factors. This will influence how high you will rank on search engines. Keep reading to find out about the different types of backlinks.
Let's get started with helping you learn all about how you can help your site succeed with SEO off-page optimization. Backlinks are one of the most important ways to build your off-page SEO.
That's because backlinks leading to your site from other authoritative sites show that your website is a credible source of information. Sites with highly valuable backlinks will get a better ranking than those with many backlinks. So it's quality over quantity when you're building links.
Here are some of the ways you can decipher how useful the backlink will be to you:
- How relevant the topic of the site is to your site
- The popularity of the linking site
- The authority of the linking page and domain
- The anchor text that was used for the link
- Link freshness
- How trustworthy the linking site is
- How many other links are on the same page
- Diversity of link types, as this indicates that they aren't spam
- Follow vs no-follow links
There are 3 main types of backlinks that your site may get:
Natural links are ones to your site from other pages that you didn't ask for. This happens when someone simply likes your products or services, or they are relevant to the content. One example of natural links would be if you sell a certain type of tyre and someone writing an article about tyres links to it.
Self-made links are those that you add on other sites to link back to your website. Places you can do this are forums, listing sites, or online directories. Any type of site where you can add in an entry is ripe for self-made links. This can be construed as black-hat SEO though, so beware of using this technique.
Manual links are a type that you need to work hard to obtain. These are the links that you have achieved through link building activities. That could be asking others to share your content or asking previous clients to link to your site, for example.
Techniques for Off-Page SEO
So, to improve your off-page SEO, what are some actionable steps that you can take? There is a myriad of things you can do but we've distilled it down into a few options for you to focus on. Feel free to get creative and dream up more ideas that will help your off-page SEO.
EAT is an acronym that gets thrown around a lot by those in the know of off-page SEO. Unfortunately for anyone just starting in their off-page SEO journey, it can be hard to untangle all the acronyms that go with it. So, what does EAT mean in terms of SEO? EAT is an acronym that stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
This is an incredibly crucial off-page SEO ranking factor. Google uses off-site signals to determine the EAT of your website. It makes sense that Google wants to link to sites that are trustworthy because if they are leading their searchers to your site, the searchers need to be finding true information.
Google is also hungry for in-depth information that its users are interested in. That's why expertise is so important in moving your way up the rankings. Google wants to promote great content that answers the questions of its users.
You can improve your EAT this in several ways, and we have detailed many of these below.
While links are likely the best thing to get yourself on other sites, brand mentions can also offer your ranking a much-needed boost. Just by getting an authoritative site to mention your brand or website, this can help you move you up the search rankings.
Brand mentions could be easier to achieve than links, as people may refer to research by you. Or if you are prolific on social media such as Twitter, you could be quoted from a post on there. These social media quotes will often not link to your site, but mention you by name instead. As they say, all press is good press, and mentions can up your status in the search rankings. Social media, in general, is not an SEO factor, but we'll go over that in more detail later.
Guest blogging can be a fantastic way of increasing your search engine ranking. How? Well, to start with, you're providing information to a completely new audience. These people have the chance to learn about you and your brand. It's also a great method for link building. In your blog, you can link back to your website, thereby establishing a fantastic quality backlink.
However, you will need to ensure that you get guest blogging spots on sites that are relevant to your own. For example, if you sell tyres, try to write for a car website. Writing on irrelevant sites is not a great link building tactic as it will likely not improve your search engine ranking.
By including quality content on your website created from research done by you, you can generate a lot of traffic to your site. A piece of content including research can come from polls you've sent out to your email list or featured on your site.
This is an easy way of getting others to backlink to your site too, to back up their findings. You may even find that this gets people to mention your site on forum sites such as Reddit or share your findings on social media. While social sites do not officially have a link to SEO, the more people that see your work, the more people may search for your brand. And that DOES help your SEO.
It has been known for a while now that positive reviews can do wonders for a brand's reputation. So it's then perhaps unsurprising to many of you that reviews can help your off-page SEO. It's no wonder that Google doesn't want to have brands that people tend to dislike at the top of their rankings.
So by encouraging customers and clients to leave positive reviews for your site, this is a fantastic way to increase your off-page SEO. If your website is not the type that gets reviews, then Google will search to see if you've won any awards and determine your ranking based on that instead.
Seed sites are those that authoritative sites link to. So while you want links from those authoritative sites, getting links from the ones they link to is also a fantastic idea! If you can't get the bigger brands just yet, you can work on getting some of the smaller ones and up your ranking that way.
This is an easier way to go if you're just starting out getting your site noticed. However, if you feel that you can add value to bigger brands then, by all means, approach them. You never know until you try!
Another option make sure you optimise your site as much as you can is to create a press release. Wait until you have something newsworthy to share with an audience, however. This could include the opening of a new store, a new piece of research, or something else.
Having a press release will not only give you a mention and/or link but will also get you noticed by other brands and companies. Then, these may also link or mention your site. This is a great way of creating organic traffic that can be picked up by search engines.
Doing an interview, or appearing on a podcast can showcase your brand to an entirely new audience. These people may have otherwise never heard of your company. So, if anyone asks you to do an interview, say yes! Or you can ask podcasters that you know of that speak on topics within your niche if you could feature on one.
While podcasts don't contain links (of course), they do get your name out there. So it's likely that you'll see the benefits of doing a podcast come back to you through more search engine searches for your name and your company name.
Let's be clear, shares and likes on social media do not affect your search engine ranking - Google has said as much. However, social media marketing certainly has the potential to increase brand awareness. If you share interesting content you have created on social media, you may have more people coming to your site and searching for your brand.
So while social media itself does not influence rankings, make sure that you still add it in as part of your off-page SEO strategy. Create a social media marketing strategy and share your content so that more people will come across it. The more people that see your content, the better for your credibility and trustworthiness.
One technique that's both on/off-page SEO is rethinking your website's page structure. Create a streamlined structure that requires users to go through categories to reach the page they want. This offer more natural traffic through all of your site, rather than just on certain pages.
For example, here is a structure that works well:
In this example, say we're selling slow cookers. The website sells home products. So the homepage at the top would link to silo pages which are like upper-level categories.
In our example, the silo page would be 'Kitchen'. The category page might be 'Cooking Appliances'. The user would have to go through these categories to then get their slow cooker. This ups your traffic and keeps people on your site for longer.
If you currently have a more horizontal site structure, people can get to their item with fewer clicks. This means they will be on your site for less time so you may want to consider changing the structure.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a fast and easy way of acquiring backlinks to your site. What is broken link building? Well, have you ever clicked on a link on a site only to find that the link is broken? Yeah, us too.
It's annoying and frustrating for the user who wants to find the information they thought that link would provide them.
Sometimes broken links are due to hosting expiring and the file transfer doesn't work as it should. No matter the reason, the good news is that you can leverage off these broken links!
Make sure that whenever you find broken links, you contact the owner of the site to tell them. Hopefully, they will be appreciative and may grant your request for them to add a link to your site. Or you can offer a link with relevant information to replace the broken one. Either way, you're likely to have just gained another backlink to your site.
If you use this as a strategy whereby you go searching for broken links, you can end up with plenty of new backlinks which should help your SEO greatly.
Creating infographics is one of the best things to add to your SEO strategy. That's because if others want to use them, that generally goes along with a brand mention or backlink.
Don't worry if you can't create infographics yourself, as it's easy to hire someone to design them for you. Just as with many things, you get what you pay for and you'll have to pay more to get engaging well-crafted infographics. Invest in the creation of infographics and you could see it come back to you over and above what you invested.
When people start sharing your infographics, this can result in an increase in organic traffic for you. Many people search each day for infographics too, just see the chart below, depicting search numbers.
This can get more people finding and engaging with your brand!
It's time to stop settling for less when it comes to people finding your website. Make it your mission to get to the first page of Google results and try every strategy that works for your brand.
Stop going for on-page SEO and ignoring off-page SEO; you need to use the two together to get the results you're searching for. Either one on their own is simply not enough.
Remember you're trying to do 3 main things:
- Get more backlinks from reputable brands
- Get more brand mentions from reputable brands
- Improve your brand's EAT- expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
There are plenty of ways that you can achieve the above targets if you set your mind to it. Whether it's through internal site structure, guest blogging, infographics, it can be done.
Using a combination of the above strategies should stand you in good stead for your off-page SEO. If you haven't yet nailed on-page SEO, find out more about that here.